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Help understanding this phrase


pprendeville

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不是几个星期就来,是一个星期以后才回来。I can't get my head around this one. Seems to be something like "it's not that you'll be back in a few weeks but after a few weeks". The context the sentence is being used in is as follows (comes from Integrated Chinese): older brother leaving younger sister behind in foreign country and she is worried she has nobody with her. He's reassuring her he'll be back in a few weeks.

Probably shouldn't be trying to do a direct translation. I can't think of any equivalent in English for this although I know it's not a good idea to be doing this but for the purposes of understanding this one it would handy if there was something to relate it to.

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The sentence seems a bit unusual to me (probably due to my lack of exposure): 不是几个星期就来,是一个星期以后才回来。

If I could swap the position of 就 and 才, then I'd translate it as:

不是几个星期才来,是一个星期以后就回来。= I won't be away for several weeks. I'll be back (as soon as) after a week.

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Text from the Integrated Chinese

……

王朋:不急,还有二十分钟呢。你怎么哭了呢?别哭,别哭。我一个月就回来了。

李友:什么“就”回来,你一个月以后“才”回来。(Just a month? <You mean> not until after a month.)

……

So there is conversation could be:

A:我一个星期就回来。

B:不是一个星期“就”回来,是一个星期“才”回来。

In the conversation, A think一个星期 might not quite a long time but B think it is a very long time for her.

I agree with Tiana, the sentence should be不是几个星期“才”回来,是一个星期以后“就”回来了. In a real conversation it is more likely to say 不用几个星期,我一个星期以后就回来了。

(It’s just my own opinion :-)

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